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Sacrifice and Salvation

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posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 01:41 PM
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The basic story of Christianity pretty much self-destructs under the most basic of logic or the most mild of skepticism but I think my biggest issue with it is the question of what Jesus saves people from exactly.

I've asked this to Christians and I have yet to get a satisfying answer to what Jesus' salvation is meant to apply to. Let's look at a few of the obvious candidates shall we?:

Sin



So apparently Jesus dying on the cross is meant to offer salvation from sin. Jesus is said to have died for all of our sins, bearing them on the cross as he died. Jesus is the ultimate blood sacrifice. In the Old Testament the Israelites had to kill an animal, transferring their sin into it before killing it in a very specific and ritualistic way, thus appeasing God. Jesus was meant to be a sacrificial lamb, taking the sins of the whole world.

The problems with this idea are many but the first and most obvious is that Christians can still sin. Even after accepting Christianity people can still choose to commit horrible deeds, just look at the Catholic church's history. So if Christians are still capable of sinning than how is Jesus saving them from sin?

There are those who ascribe to a “once saved, always saved” version of the theology, where anyone who accepts Christ is saved no matter what horrible deeds they commit but this, of course, means that immoral monsters like Hitler could be in Heaven, while relatively good moral people who just happened to not be Christians would end up in Hell.

The answer also can't be that Jesus merely offers help in fighting the temptation to sin, because if Jesus is involved than the temptation can't possibly win, Jesus is all powerful, he can't exactly FAIL to defend you from sin? The argument could be made that Jesus saves people from their sins up until the moment they BECOME a Christian, and then after that moment they are responsible for their own sins BUT they would still be in danger of Hell both before and after accepting Salvation, rendering it pointless.

The post-Jesus world is not sinless and thus Jesus saved no one from sin.

Hell



The idea that Jesus saves people from Hell suffers from a similar problem as the last one. In fact Hell is the only reason why most relatively minor sins are a big problem. According to Revelations liars and cowards will be put in Hell, as well as anyone who doesn't believe in the Christian God. There are tons of things that the Bible claims are sins which are not a big problem in reality, such as working on the Sabbath (Saturday), lying and eating shellfish. Lumping such trivialities in with murder is absurd to those of us with basic moral understanding and empathy and the idea of throwing someone into a Lake of Fire for, well, any reason at all, makes God out to be a horrific monster.

So if Jesus saved humanity from Hell than no human beings would go to Hell. Yet according to the Bible the majority of human beings DO end up in the Lake of Fire after being judged by God. So this would mean that Jesus' plan to save humanity failed, thus making him imperfect and not all powerful. Christians might argue that FREE WILL will save their God from impotence here (and lot's of other places they like to trump up free will) but that simply isn't the case. Even if God gives us free will the will of an all-powerful God still trumps it, and a perfect being CANNOT LOGICALLY FAIL. Thus if even one soul ends up in Hell God is shown to be imperfect.

As with sinning even Christians are still capable of going to Hell in most interpretations, so accepting Salvation offers no safeguard whatsoever from the possibility of hellfire.

Death



Christianity makes a lot of claims about eternal life, sometimes you can read them on tombstones.

Satan



Some will argue that Jesus was sent to save us from Satan, who is the Father of Lies and likes to lead people astray. But the same Christians will argue that people can become possessed by demons to this very day. When I was a Christian I was told that going to see the wrong movie could get me possessed, and was fed horror stories about teenagers like myself who came out of horror films with a demon attached to them. So even Christians are presumably not safe from demons if their faith is weak enough (or they buy a ticket for the wrong movie) and demons are just Satan's henchmen.

Furthermore Satan is not threatening (aside from possession) in the slightest. It is God who threatens mankind with fiery torment, Satan merely seduces you to the dark-side so-to-speak.

God



A more logical explanation than Satan would be that Jesus came to save the world from God's wrath, but again with the majority of humanity ending up in Hell anyway the reasoning breaks apart. Making matters worse is the fact that, according to the vast majority of Christians, Jesus IS God. So rather than saving folks from his own wrath by being born of a virgin and then getting nailed to a stick why not just FORGIVE people... you know, the old fashioned way. Adam and Eve ate some fruit they weren't supposed to and the creator of the entire COSMOS is still pouting about it hundreds of thousands of years (6,000 in the creationist world) LATER?

So, Christians, what exactly is Jesus saving people from?

Lastly I want to bring up the issue of Jesus supposedly “sacrificing” himself. As an atheist I'm constantly reminded by Christians that Jesus “died for me”. According to the story Jesus was God's son (and was also God) and was dead for a grand total of what, three days at most? And he came back to life in the SAME BODY that he was crucified in, Thomas even put his hands in the wounds. So what did Jesus LOSE? To sacrifice something you have to lose it right? Not only did Jesus not give up his immortal life he only actually gave up his MORTAL life for a few days, and then reclaimed it by coming back in the SAME BODY.

Jesus isn't incomplete or missing something when he comes back to life, in fact he ascends into splendor and glory to rule at the right hand of the Father for eternity. This isn't a sacrifice folks, hell if anything IT'S A PROMOTION. If Jesus had just been an ordinary mortal human, no miracles, no powers, just some down-to-earth morals and a few disciples, than maybe him sacrificing himself would have meant something. But an immortal being impregnating a teenage virgin to create a mortal body, then letting the body be nailed to a cross, then letting the body die on Friday only to reclaim it on Sunday and fly it to Heaven to be crowned on a throne, IS NOT A SACRIFICE – NOR IS IT MEANINGFUL.

But if you disagree please explain why it is a sacrifice and while you're at it answer the question of what Jesus was saving people from.




posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 11:27 PM
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Another one of these threads? Me explaining anything to you would be a pointless excersice in futility because you have a closed mind.

I'd say good luck but there's no such thing as luck.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 04:27 AM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 

. . . letting the body die on Friday only to reclaim it on Sunday and fly it to Heaven to be crowned on a throne, IS NOT A SACRIFICE – NOR IS IT MEANINGFUL.

Despite his preexistence as a deity type person, Jesus is a human, and so represents the humanity of this world before God in heaven.
Jesus judged sin by living a righteous life and judged the world's system when it killed him.
edit on 16-10-2012 by jmdewey60 because: add Bible quote: "For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God." Romans 8:19



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 11:55 AM
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reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 


If you're not going to be bother explaining anything than the only real reason you could have posted, and correct me if I'm wrong here, is to attempt to malign me by making a snap-judgment calling me closed-minded.

reply to post by jmdewey60
 


But none of that answers my questions. How can Jesus represent humanity if he did not sin when the Bible clearly states that all men are sinners who have fallen short? It seems to me that if God wanted a representative he would have chosen a sinner to redeem and indeed that story seems to have played out with the Apostle Paul NOT with Jesus (interestingly Paul refers to a more nebulous and mystical Jesus, rather than a physical one completing miracles).

Had Jesus been human and actually given up his life for some cause there would have been meaning and it would have been a sacrifice, but if the story is taken as it is in the Gospels than he was God and only gave up his mortal body for a few days. In many forms of Christianity the Resurrection is considered just as important as the crucifixion, yet it actually makes the story LESS meaningful.



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 01:28 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 

How can Jesus represent humanity if he did not sin when the Bible clearly states that all men are sinners who have fallen short?
That's the idea, to have as representative, someone who did not sin, where God likes us better than He would otherwise because when he thinks of humans of Earth, He is thinking of good people since the one example sitting before Him who He is looking at is a good example, being one of us who did not sin.
So it is a little like cheating, maybe, that we did not somehow elect someone ourselves to be sent.
If we would have, it would have been someone else not so good, and maybe insane like Alexander the Great.
The thing is, we could not send anyone if we wanted to, but God can, and He knew what sort of person Jesus was, since they were in communication with each other all the while.
The citation you are giving is just the intro to the thesis, which goes on to explain that Jesus is the exception, but does not go into the detains of how it turned out that way, in that the main point is that it did, and here are the things that result from that established fact. How it applies to us on an individual basis is where it does go into further detail, where it is explained that this opens a way for us to receive gifts that we would be unworthy of if that worthiness was determined by examination of us on an individual basis. Having us all lumped together with Jesus as the representative of the whole, allows us certain advantages, which is to have holy things come our way, things which would be normally adverse to being in close proximity to unholy beings such as ourselves. By Joining ourselves with someone who is, then we are in a sanctified category appropriate for being filled with a holy thing, being specifically the spirit of God, which works in us to make us not just sanctified in principle, but sanctified in fact, and ready to enter into the presence of God without being immediately destroyed as an evil thing.
edit on 16-10-2012 by jmdewey60 because: add Bible quote: "For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God." Romans 8:19



posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 01:36 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 

Had Jesus been human and actually given up his life for some cause there would have been meaning and it would have been a sacrifice, but if the story is taken as it is in the Gospels than he was God and only gave up his mortal body for a few days. In many forms of Christianity the Resurrection is considered just as important as the crucifixion, yet it actually makes the story LESS meaningful.

The "cause" is that everyone should have the same willingness to die for the truth and for the fight against evil in the world.
The reason there is so much evil is because too many people are afraid they will get killed if they try to resist it.
The resurrection is Jesus' vindication, that he was right and the people who killed him were wrong.
It also tells us if we follow his example and fight evil and get killed, it is not so "big a deal", and to have no fear.



posted on Oct, 17 2012 @ 08:14 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 


If you're not going to be bother explaining anything than the only real reason you could have posted, and correct me if I'm wrong here, is to attempt to malign me by making a snap-judgment calling me closed-minded.

reply to post by jmdewey60
 


But none of that answers my questions. How can Jesus represent humanity if he did not sin when the Bible clearly states that all men are sinners who have fallen short? It seems to me that if God wanted a representative he would have chosen a sinner to redeem and indeed that story seems to have played out with the Apostle Paul NOT with Jesus (interestingly Paul refers to a more nebulous and mystical Jesus, rather than a physical one completing miracles).

Had Jesus been human and actually given up his life for some cause there would have been meaning and it would have been a sacrifice, but if the story is taken as it is in the Gospels than he was God and only gave up his mortal body for a few days. In many forms of Christianity the Resurrection is considered just as important as the crucifixion, yet it actually makes the story LESS meaningful.


One could think the only reason you posted this thread, and correct me if I'm wrong here, is to attempt to malign Christianity and our beliefs. Yawn....again...another one...Calling you closed minded was and is a fairly accurate assessment, based on previous posts
Seriously is anything anybody could say going to change your opinion?

Looking for a few flags and stars is my assesment



posted on Oct, 17 2012 @ 10:03 PM
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reply to post by borntowatch
 


These people need to get more creative in their trolling, getting to the point where you see the same stuff over and over, like they can't find something new to pick at.



posted on Oct, 17 2012 @ 10:18 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 





So apparently Jesus dying on the cross is meant to offer salvation from sin. Jesus is said to have died for all of our sins, bearing them on the cross as he died. Jesus is the ultimate blood sacrifice. In the Old Testament the Israelites had to kill an animal, transferring their sin into it before killing it in a very specific and ritualistic way, thus appeasing God. Jesus was meant to be a sacrificial lamb, taking the sins of the whole world. The problems with this idea are many but the first and most obvious is that Christians can still sin. Even after accepting Christianity people can still choose to commit horrible deeds, just look at the Catholic church's history. So if Christians are still capable of sinning than how is Jesus saving them from sin? There are those who ascribe to a “once saved, always saved” version of the theology, where anyone who accepts Christ is saved no matter what horrible deeds they commit but this, of course, means that immoral monsters like Hitler could be in Heaven, while relatively good moral people who just happened to not be Christians would end up in Hell. The answer also can't be that Jesus merely offers help in fighting the temptation to sin, because if Jesus is involved than the temptation can't possibly win, Jesus is all powerful, he can't exactly FAIL to defend you from sin? The argument could be made that Jesus saves people from their sins up until the moment they BECOME a Christian, and then after that moment they are responsible for their own sins BUT they would still be in danger of Hell both before and after accepting Salvation, rendering it pointless.


No no no no ! This isn't only wrong it's completely ignorant and you constantly point to the Catholic church as if it's all of Christianity. When it's actually questionable. See if you truly have Christ in your heart ? You're going to hate sin and do your best to follow Jesus while still in the flesh. Doesn't mean we're perfect either. Some times Titen you're like a kid with toy who won't give it up and go to bed.
edit on 17-10-2012 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 12:56 PM
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reply to post by borntowatch
 





Seriously is anything anybody could say going to change your opinion?


Yes and no. The odds of someone changing my opinion to such a degree that suddenly I would convert to Christianity (again) are extremely low, but on a more nuanced level maybe someone has an answer to these questions that is honestly unique or interesting. I only cover the basic answers that I don't think hold up, it is possible there are others that, at the very least, are creative.



Looking for a few flags and stars is my assesment


I could care less about flags and stars, I've been here on ATS for years, there are folks who have been here a quarter of the time I have and have wracked up FAR more stars and flags. I'd post new threads on a daily basis if I was just looking for attention.

The main purpose of this thread is to put forth the question of what Jesus is saving people from in the hopes that some Christians might actually question their own beliefs and actually think about what I'm saying. If a Christian attempts to answer the question and finds that their answer falls short, maybe that will get them thinking as to WHY their answers don't make any sense or don't really solve the problem.

Having once been a Christian, I can say that while no one single piece of doubt regarding my beliefs was responsible for leaving them behind there were lot's of little points raised over the years, lot's of times when I questioned my beliefs only to shovel doubt back into the dirt.

Maybe this will get people thinking, even if their initial reaction is a knee jerk emotional one.



posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by randyvs
 


The Catholic Church is the closest relative to early Christianity as far as the evolution of Christianity goes Randy. I'm not arguing that it is all of Christianity, in fact the Catholic Church is not in any way important to the point of this thread.

reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 


Trolling, the most overused term on the internet.

So trying to challenge people's beliefs by asking them to give a straight answer is trolling?

reply to post by jmdewey60
 





The "cause" is that everyone should have the same willingness to die for the truth and for the fight against evil in the world.


But Christians never claim that's the cause. Most versions I've heard claim that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, as a blood sacrifice. Jesus is personified as a sacrificial lamb offered to God on our behalf to spare us God's wrath. Sure Jesus did his fair share to shame and malign the corrupt religious establishment of his day but if the message of the story was about being willing to fight evil and lay down your life than it seems to have been muddled.




The thing is, we could not send anyone if we wanted to, but God can, and He knew what sort of person Jesus was, since they were in communication with each other all the while.


Was Jesus God though? Because if he was God than they were each other, no need for communication as they would be one being. If Jesus was just a man chosen by God the story would gain new meaning. I've always been interested in the scene in Gethsemane for instance, because it seems to show a very very human Jesus, who is afraid of the pain of the coming crucifixion and wants out of it if God is willing to offer him a way out. A Jesus who is vulnerable, completely human, with all our flaws and perhaps even our sins, just seems like a far nobler idea.

A fully divine Jesus who was incapable of sin is, as you say, kind of like cheating and cheapens it.



and ready to enter into the presence of God without being immediately destroyed as an evil thing.


If the presence of God destroys evil things immediately than why is he physically present after Adam and Eve commit original sin? They don't die from God being present in the garden.



posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 01:43 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 





So trying to challenge people's beliefs by asking them to give a straight answer is trolling?


There isn't anything challenging here tho Titen. Total ignorance isn't challenging friend.
I gave you a solid answer to your question on

Sin.

So you can't complain about that anymore.


edit on 18-10-2012 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 

But Christians never claim that's the cause. Most versions I've heard claim that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, as a blood sacrifice. Jesus is personified as a sacrificial lamb offered to God on our behalf to spare us God's wrath. Sure Jesus did his fair share to shame and malign the corrupt religious establishment of his day but if the message of the story was about being willing to fight evil and lay down your life than it seems to have been muddled.
Seems that way to me too. I blame it on the cults who are big on recruiting, so their message gets the bullhorn while normal Christianity gets kicked aside.

Was Jesus God though? Because if he was God than they were each other, no need for communication as they would be one being.
The word "monotheism" was not coined until 1600 AD.
People now-days are afraid of being called non-monotheist so they shy away from thinking of separate gods. A single person having God status is actually heretical from a Christian point of view. The person who became Jesus, before he was a human, was a god. He is still the same person but emptied himself of that god status and was willing to be satisfied with what could be given to him by God, as much of that god power as necessary for his role as Lord over those who believe in him.

I've always been interested in the scene in Gethsemane for instance, because it seems to show a very very human Jesus, who is afraid of the pain of the coming crucifixion and wants out of it if God is willing to offer him a way out.
I concluded recently that what was difficult for him was to restrain himself from engaging in theological and political arguments with those who sought to place him on trial and execute him. For example, that is what Paul probably would have done in the same circumstances.

If the presence of God destroys evil things immediately than why is he physically present after Adam and Eve commit original sin? They don't die from God being present in the garden.
That was not the same person as who we normally think of as God, the Father of Jesus. He seems to have been a local deity type person in charge of an important territory which later was specified as the land of Canaan.
edit on 18-10-2012 by jmdewey60 because: add Bible quote: "For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God." Romans 8:19



posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 02:27 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 



The idea that Jesus saves people from Hell suffers from a similar problem as the last one. In fact Hell is the only reason why most relatively minor sins are a big problem. According to Revelations liars and cowards will be put in Hell, as well as anyone who doesn't believe in the Christian God. There are tons of things that the Bible claims are sins which are not a big problem in reality, such as working on the Sabbath (Saturday), lying and eating shellfish. Lumping such trivialities in with murder is absurd to those of us with basic moral understanding and empathy and the idea of throwing someone into a Lake of Fire for, well, any reason at all, makes God out to be a horrific monster.


Your mistake is you do not understand our God. He has his laws, and breaking his laws are sins. There are not greater or varying degrees of sins. To him telling a lie is the same as commiting murder. God is not a monster, but he is righteous and he has his laws. You can't judge something that is beyond your understanding by your morals because he is nothing like you, but so far above you that you casting moral judgements at him is a waste of your effort. Under the first covenant he gave to Israel, breaking his laws incurred the death penalty, that was the covenant of the flesh and it was designed to show them that without his mercy and grace they would all die in their sins and be destroyed. The second covenant came for all mankind, that is his grace covenant, that no longer is fleshly labor required for salvation, but you have to personally accept the second covenant because it's a gift, specifically Jesus' gift of self sacrifice to purchase us from our blood debt. The only sin Jesus will not forgive is to blapheme (scoff/slander) the Holy Spirit.



So if Jesus saved humanity from Hell than no human beings would go to Hell. Yet according to the Bible the majority of human beings DO end up in the Lake of Fire after being judged by God. So this would mean that Jesus' plan to save humanity failed, thus making him imperfect and not all powerful. Christians might argue that FREE WILL will save their God from impotence here (and lot's of other places they like to trump up free will) but that simply isn't the case. Even if God gives us free will the will of an all-powerful God still trumps it, and a perfect being CANNOT LOGICALLY FAIL. Thus if even one soul ends up in Hell God is shown to be imperfect.


Here again, your logic at understanding our God fails. Jesus doesn't save you form "hell", he saves you from eternal death. We still must undergo the first death of the body because these bodies are corrupted and dying and we need resurrection to give us new perfect bodies. Hell is not the burning place, it's just a prison, originally called sheol which means "the grave" or "the abode of the dead" or "the Pit". Gehenna is where the trash ends up to be burned, it's called "the lake of fire" because in ancient times Gehenna was a trashdump where people would take torches and light a ring of fire around it to consume the garbage. Jesus' plan to save humanity didn't fail, the Father will call all to him who are given to be with Jesus, so when the call to repent comes upon you to turn away from your evil, turn to Jesus and recieve salvation. God didn't give us free will, he gave us the ability to make choices but there are only 2 choices to choose from, Satan or Jesus. Most people will choose Satan, some will choose Jesus. In the book of Genesis this choice between Jesus and Satan is first introduced as "the Tree of Life" and "Tree of Knowledge". One choice leads to eternal life and one choice leads to eternal death. All God does is give you the ability to choose for yourself because him being a loving God, Jesus will not take from you your ability to think and choose for yourself your own path, even if it hurts him to see you choose your own destruction and this is seen althroughout his ministry while here on earth. While on earth he never forced anyone to believe in him, he showed them things and let them decide their own fates.




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